Languaging as refusal


  • Kolar Aparna University of Helsinki
  • Saba Hamzah


How are we refusing to be the bridge in ‘diversity’ responses in academia? What processes open up when we refuse the word and the singular language of ‘borders’ circulating in border studies and gender studies in the Netherlands? Where are we refusing from? Who is the subject-object of refusal? What is the language of refusal? How to speak from our burning guts that refuse to refuse in a language that doesn’t speak to our daily lives and struggles? How are we refusing the violence of research processes promoting the individual ‘trophy’ academic/artist in academic and cultural institutions while holding one’s own and each other’s bodies and power asymmetries shaping our writing processes for healing? How does one listen to the silences in histories of slavery, war, patriarchy, colonial trauma, and gender violence passing through our bodies while writing? In this essay we reflect on these questions by interspersing pieces of texts, experiences, excerpts (from thesis/thesis-related events), visuals, and poetry, by entangling biographies, traumas and memories situated in our everyday contexts and processes of teaching, writing for healing and for a living.  Languaging becomes a location where we speak from, inspired and yet in tension with Anzaldúa (Hamzah 2020). Languaging (Kramsch et al. 2015) is our practice of refusal to refuse in one dominant language. We language a call for a poetics of refusal. We intentionally make the fleeting process known to each other and open it up to the reader, in holding each other’s bodies as they are collapsing and healing. In doing so we invite the reader to struggle with us in the process of naming our struggles that emerge from refusing to refuse singularly in English, refusing to write by partitioning our guts and everyday battles with patriarchy, refusing the writing subject as fully knowing what one is refusing.

How to Cite

Aparna, K., & Hamzah, S. (2023). Languaging as refusal. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 201(2), 215–228.